Erdogan says Turkey will not allow creation of terrorist corridor on its southern border
“The developments in northern Iraq are of interest not only for Kurds, but also Arabs, Turkomans and representatives of other nationalities. Let's not forget that Iraq is not a Kurdish, Arab or Turkoman state, and Kirkuk and Mosul are not homeland of Kurds,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish leader stressed that the referendum held by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government violated international law and the Iraqi Constitution.
“Unfortunately, the Kurdistan Regional Government held a so-called referendum despite all warnings from us and the international community,” Erdogan said noting that the referendum poses a threat to peace and stability in Iraq and throughout the region.
“The statement lately made by the Kurdish administration shows that they realized their mistake. We would like them to promptly take steps meeting our expectations,” added the Turkish president.
Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s readiness to cooperate with the Iraqi government to eliminate the PKK's [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] presence in Iraq.
“Those who mediate in the PKK terrorist organization’s, which is trying to disturb public order and peace in Kirkuk, finding refuge in this region, are responsible for this,” the president said. “Turkey welcomed the Iraqi government’s statement saying that the Iraqi army will return Kirkuk and will not turn a blind eye to PKK’s actions.”
He pledged that Turkey will support the Iraqi government in taking steps aimed at restoring sustainable peace and stability in the country.
Erdogan added that Turkey still hopes for a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
“By the Astana meeting and Geneva negotiations, we will continue strong support for the transitional political process aimed at Syria’s development,” he said.
The president noted that Turkey played a decisive role in reaching the agreement as guarantor of opposition in the discussion process on the issue of a de-conflict zone in Syria’s Idlib.
“At this time, we tried to consider the approach and views of various regional groups. We conducted an operation in the direction of Idlib in order to achieve the continuation of the ceasefire. With this operation, we expanded the security area that we created during the operation of the Euphrates Shield with a new step in ensuring Idlib's security. In this way, we demonstrated that we can take every action against those who threaten our security,” he added.
“Turkey will never allow the creation of a terrorist corridor on its southern border,” said Erdogan.
He pledged that Turkey will continue to do its utmost to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
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